Joe Biden urges Putin not to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian mass graves discovered in Izium amid Russian invasion' Ukrainian mass graves discovered in Izium amid Russian invasion
WARNING: Video contains content that may be disturbing to viewers. Discretion is advised. An investigation is underway into a disturbing discovery in Ukraine. Local authorities say they have found hundreds of graves in an area recently retaken from Russia. The mass burial site is in a forest just outside of Izium, which was invaded in the early days of the war and used by Russia as a key military hub. Eric Sorensen has more on the discovery and what it could mean for the conflict – Sep 16, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to not use tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in the wake of setbacks in Ukraine, in a CBS News interview to air on Sunday.

Ukraine’s military drove back Russian forces in a lightning rout in the northeast of the country this week, putting Putin under pressure from nationalists at home to regain the initiative.

Read more: UN to allow Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to virtually address next week’s world leaders summit

Putin has warned that Moscow would respond more forcefully if its troops were put under further pressure, raising concerns that he could at some point use unconventional means like small nuclear or chemical weapons

Asked by a “60 Minutes” reporter what he would say to Putin if he was considering using such weapons, Biden said: “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t. It would change the face of war unlike anything since World War Two,” in a clip of the interview released by CBS on Saturday.

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Biden said the U.S. response would be “consequential,” but declined to give detail. Russia “would become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been,” Biden said. “Depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”

Russian government officials have dismissed Western suggestions that Moscow would use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but it remains a worry for some in the West.

Click to play video: 'Putin warns Ukraine conflict can get more serious, after telling Modi they want war to end' Putin warns Ukraine conflict can get more serious, after telling Modi they want war to end
Putin warns Ukraine conflict can get more serious, after telling Modi they want war to end – Sep 16, 2022

In a speech announcing the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, Putin gave a veiled but unmistakable warning that if the West intervened in what he has called a “special military operation” he could use nuclear weapons in response.

“No matter who tries to stand in our way or … create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” he said, according to a Kremlin translation.

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Other choices for Putin could involve mobilizing Russia’s reserves, who number around 2 million men, and pressuring Europe to strong-arm Ukraine into a truce with Russia, by freezing the region this winter by banning all energy exports.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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